Right by the entrance of the hipster vibe of Kensington Market sits the College Backpackers Hostel. A hostel it may be, but an experience is more of an appropriate term.
Based in downtown Toronto in a very ideal location, with the previously mentioned Kensington Market being a couple of steps away, on College Street with all its bars and restaurants around the corner and generally being in a central location where you can easily access everything in Toronto. Generally, you can’t complain about the location in the slightest but there are many things you can complain about in the hostel.
Upon entry everything is peachy, the staff are welcoming, the entrance is clean and pristine and it’s just like any other hostel. Then you hit the rooms and you’ll find it’s cramped for space with not many places for you to put your stuff. It’s also a hostel where you chose your bed where on our stay there had our stuff moved from our claimed bed to the top bunk as someone was not for having a bottom bunk, which happened to someone else as well. The beds themselves are annoyingly creaky with even the slightest movement and you’ll be waking every human up which will help you make friends as easily as someone who has ‘I am a racist prick’ tattooed on their forehead. The mattress and pillow are alright but you just can’t get over the sheer creaking and screeching.
College Backpackers make up for themselves with their common area being solid, comfy chairs and a large tv, with many channels, that is right next to the kitchen so you can cook a midnight snack and watch those dirty sexy adult shows like Adventure Time when everyone is sleeping, or trying to in those beds. The kitchen is rather decent with a good amount of space and filled with all the essentials you need and want.
Two major problems, other than the bed comfort, is the WiFi. The WiFi across the hostel is pretty patchy at best with it working ok at times then suddenly making you want to pull your arm hair out as you can’t even load up Whatsapp. Being in downtown Toronto, in a large city, you would expect good WiFi and not have better WiFi on a Greyhound bus. Hoping since our visit there this has changed but from our stay, it wasn’t pleasant, especially with the lack of good WiFi.
Another major problem was the fact many homeless people were living there giving you a little bit of fear. Now not saying we’re scared of homeless people but when you’re staying in a hostel that is called ‘Backpackers’ you expect backpackers in there and fellow travel humans, not people who have fallen on hard times and have to live in a hostel. If there were some lockers available there would be much less fear but when you’re staying with people who may be desperate and not want to end up sleeping on the street, they may bump your stuff out of desperation. If it’s known that some people are homeless, which it is, they should have them be in a separate part of the hostel all for themselves instead of with tourists. Homeless people should have shelter, but a ‘backpackers’ hostel isn’t the best place for it.
College Backpackers isn’t a great hostel and should be avoided unless the only option. From the homeless inhabitants to the awful screeching beds and the patchy wifi, it doesn’t have much appeal to it other than the common area and kitchen. College Backpackers lacks in the important stuff that makes a hostel good and has to be graded Better Than A Park Bench, with the common area saving it from the lowest grade.
• The common area and kitchen are solid
• Terrific location
• Lack of outlets
• Homeless inhabitants
• Patchy WiFi
• Screeching beds
• Lack of room space
OVERALL GRADE: Better Than A Park Bench